About the PMA

The Portland Museum of Art strives to enrich the lives of people through acquisition, preservation, and interpretation of the visual arts and the Museum's architecturally significant buildings.

With an extensive collection and nationally renowned exhibitions, the Portland Museum of Art is the cultural heart of Portland, Maine. The PMA boasts significant holdings of American, European, and contemporary art, as well as iconic works from Maine—highlighting the rich artistic tradition of the state and its artists. The museum brings it all to life with unparalleled programming. From special members-only events, Free School Tours, and a commitment to family activities to PMA Movies, curator talks, and exclusive tours of the Winslow Homer Studio—it’s all happening at the PMA.

Our Vision

The Portland Museum of Art creates outstanding exhibitions and educational programs to inspire our audiences. We embrace our rich past, dynamic present, and vibrant future to be a vital arts center for the city, region, and nation. Leveraging the strength of our collection, scholarship, and geographic location, we will excel in these distinct areas:

    The ongoing exploration of the creative culture of the state of Maine within the
        context of American art and culture.
    The interpretation of European modernism through our collection and programs.
    The presentation of progressive exhibitions beyond our collection that address local and global issues.
    The integration of our unique architectural campus into the fabric of Portland and the state of Maine. 

The Portland Museum of Art strives to engage our audiences in a dialogue about the relevance of art and culture to our lives. Aspiring to facilitate this conversation through exhibitions, programs, and partnerships, we dedicate ourselves to serving and supporting our local and national community. In order to provide a learning environment for our audiences, we commit ourselves to good governance, professional development, and fiscal responsibility.

A Message From Our Director

With warmer weather right around the corner (we hope!), you’re probably getting your spring-cleaning lists together. Perhaps that means tidying the garage or visiting your shed for the first time in five months. Maybe it’s a trip to the marina to check on a boat that’s battled the elements while you’ve caught up on your fireside reading. However you’re planning for spring, we hope you will add the PMA to your to-do list.  The coming months are set to be some of the best ever at the museum, and we hope to see you soon!

The Coast & the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America has resonated with our audiences since opening in late January. From paintings by artists such as Thomas Birch and Thomas Buttersworth to riveting programming like “Scrimshanders: The History and Art of Scrimshaw,” The Coast & the Sea has been a hit, and we’re elated that you’ve made this special exhibition such a success.

Rose Marasco: index is sure to excite our members as well. Marasco is perhaps Maine’s most-beloved living photographer, and we’re proud to exhibit the artist’s first-ever retrospective. The photographs in index are stunning, yet perhaps their most striking quality is their unbelievable diversity in style, subject, and technique. It’s this diversity that speaks to Marasco’s genius as an artist and photographer, and why we can’t wait for it to open April 24.

Finally, this summer’s Directors’ Cut: Selections from the Maine Art Museum Trail is an exhibition that, as Director, is particularly meaningful to me. Over the last year, we’ve worked to bring some of the best art Maine has to offer, together for the first time. Collaborating with the Maine Art Museum Trail, the PMA will present selections from eight of the state’s most revered art institutions. Never before have Peggy Bacon, John Bisbee, Winslow Homer, Robert Indiana, Rockwell Kent, and more shared an exhibition, and our visitors are going to remember this for years to come.

It speaks to the quality and breadth of experiences at the PMA that I have yet to mention things like our #ThirdThursPMA series, PMA Movies, Family Days, and more. Stay in the loop with the museum online, on your smartphone, and in your inboxes. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, subscribe to our podcasts and videos online, and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter. 

We don’t want you to miss a thing.

 Mark H. C. Bessire, Director

Become a Member

Members enable the PMA to provide spectacular programming, unique exhibitions, and remarkable events. They believe in the transformative power of the arts. They value community. If this sounds like you, we invite you to explore the many levels of membership available at the PMA and become a part of something special.

Museum History & Architecture

Photo by Craig Becker

Originally founded as the Portland Society of Art, the Museum used a variety of exhibition spaces until 1908. That year Mrs. Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat bequeathed her three-story mansion, now known as the McLellan House, and sufficient funds to create a gallery in memory of her late husband, Lorenzo de Medici Sweat. Noted New England architect John Calvin Stevens designed the L. D. M. Sweat Memorial Galleries, which opened to the public in 1911.

Contact Us

Portland Museum of Art
Seven Congress Square
Portland, Maine 04101
(207) 775-6148
(207) 773-7324 Fax

Key Facts & Stats

Founded in 1882

Located in the downtown arts district in Portland, Maine

Maine's largest and oldest public art institution, founded in 1882

With more than 8,000 members, the PMA boasts a strong base of loyal support both locally and regionally

Recognized as "one of the best medium-size museums in New England," by Boston Globe

Largest collection of European art north of Boston

Comprehensive collection of Winslow Homer's graphics

140,000 visitors per year

Nearly 6,000 schoolchildren per year

More than 18,000 objects of fine and decorative arts in the collection, dating from the 18th-century to the present

Approximately 10 changing exhibitions per year

What's Going on at the PMA?

April 28, 2015
Chief Curator
Marasco is not only one of the finest narrative photographers in the country and beloved artists in Maine, but also an eloquent storyteller in her own right. In preparation for Rose Marasco: index, I sat down with Rose as she walked us through the milestones of her life's work. In this poignant and touching excerpt from those interviews, Rose reflects on her Catholic roots and upbringing in Utica, New York, and how the knowledge of oneself as an artist is inextricably tied to the past, as well as one's work.

In the News

The Portland Phoenix
April 29, 2015 |

Being given a retrospective, one year after retirement from a long teaching career, could be perceived as slightly morbid or as auspicious. Does it mark an end or a new beginning? I am convinced that “Rose Marasco: index” at the Portland Museum of Art does the latter.

The exhibition’s title indicates one aspect of photography Marasco has grappled with for decades. The indexical nature of photography started to be questioned just when Marasco’s artistic values were being formed. A student of the highly influential Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, during the 1970s and ‘80s, the photographer has adopted a disregard of categories and expectations.